Roly-poly puddings, plastic sharks and Pippa Middleton

Phew, it’s been an exhausting week. I have spent a lot of time being Mrs Tabitha Twitchit, mother of three naughty kittens, at the request of my daughter who is completely obssessed with Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of the Roly-Poly Pudding. Her favourite part of this elaborate role play is getting the plastic shark and her rolling pin into the sandpit and covering the shark in a smoothly rolled layer of sand, just as the rats do to Tom Kitten in Potter’s story, except that they use dough instead of sand and they intend to eat Tom Kitten, whereas I have absolutely no intention of eating the sandy shark who’s standing in for Tom.

I’ve also been The Queen several times while my oldest daughter dresses herself up in an elaborate wedding gown made from old silk scarves, plastic beads, a pillowcase and even one of my husband’s ties and then glides down the aisle to marry Prince William. I don’t get to do a lot in this scenario except sit and wave (so it’s quite true to life!) and my daughter won’t let me be the bridesmaid as she can obviously see that I’m neither young nor attractive enough to play Pippa Middleton.

In between these jobs I’ve been a fairy (Amber the Orange Fairy to be exact); a train, stopping just before I run over brave Bobbie waving her red petticoats a la The Railway Children; and also an entire audience, waiting patiently for the ballerinas to emerge from the wings and ready to throw armloads of dress-up clothes masquerading as bouquets of flowers onto the stage. Occasionally, I’m a mother. Rarely, I’m a writer. But always, I’m using my imagination and watching my kids use theirs.

I’ve really started to see my daughters’ imaginations flourish over the last couple of months as we begin to read chapter books, books that have a few small black and white illustrations scattered throughout but where the main focus is on the words and the story, rather than the pictures. I can see that their minds are now making up their own pictures to accompany the story and that they don’t have to rely on an illustrator any more; they can ‘see’ the story all by themselves.

So I’ve been hauling out of the cupboard many books I’d put away for ‘later’ but it seems as if ‘later’ has arrived much sonner than I’d expected. At the moment, we’re about halfway through Enid Blyton’s Mr Meddle’s Mischief and I’m dreading one of the girls suggesting we play Mr Meddle because he is a very unattractive man with an extremely long nose and I know exactly who’ll get cast in that role. Unless of course I can convince them that the plastic shark is due for a promotion and is ready to take on a role more challenging than being made into a kitten pudding.

8 comments

  1. Lies. You’d make a smashing Pippa =P
    Amazingly enough you’re still making time to post through all that! Love it.
    Wish I had an excuse as good as yours for how little I’m writing these days. Elan’Dth just grinded past 39,000 and it’s slow uninspiring work =( still I tack away at the keyboard in hope =)

  2. Glen Hunting

    Your account of your chameleon activities of late is most entertaining. And I had rather forgotten about both Mister Meddle and The Railway Children; they were both quite significant to me, ‘way back when.’ I had a grandfather who at one time was a fitter and turner in the Victorian Railways, so I was fascinated by trains and steam locomotives from an early age. I can’t remember now what the railway childrens’ father was imprisoned for (wrongly, of course); I think it might have been a genteel brand of corporate fraud, or something similarly non-threatening to kiddies. I later tried The Treasure Seekers (again by Miss Nesbit) but I didn’t enjoy it half as much.

    Seeing as we come from the same part of Perth, I seem to recall getting a lot of my Enid Blyton books (Meddle, Twiddle, Pink-Whistle et al) from the K-Mart at the Warwick shops. Did you get yours from there, too?

    • He was supposed to have been a spy – so yes, very non-threatening for kiddies who, at my daughters’ age, don’t even know what a spy is. I was a huge Enid Blyton fan – most of mine came from the library but the ones I have were all presents for Christmas so they all came from Santa, not Kmart!

  3. Oh, how delightful, I can’t wait until my small boy reaches an imaginative age like this (no doubt I’ll think differently when he starts bossing me around but still). I am certainly hoping he will love and appreciate my large collection of Enid Blyton books! – if they don’t fall apart on opening (some belonged to my mum originally!).

  4. Trin

    You are still young, more than beautiful and most importantly an amazing Mum who is is always taking part and encouraging your children’s wonderful imaginative play activities. Eat your heart out Pippa. Funny enough we were looking through all my old Enid Blyton books the other day and commented on that Mr Meddles Mischief still had the kmart price tag (from Warwick) – wait for it $1.57. Ah if only!

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